Imágenes de páginas

the good of souls, or to neglect this or the other opportunity of advancing the glory of God 1

4. Are you prepared to avoid or to embrace, to endure or to perform whatever you shall discover in the course of these Exercises that God demands of you? or are you, perhaps, placing limits to God's grace, by being obstinately resolved not to advance or be enlightened beyond a certain point?

If you should encounter any difficulty in these different points of Examination, remember that you have been created by God and for God, and that you are, consequently, bound to serve Him in that manner which He shall desire. Then, ask yourself who are you that, turning aside from the only true path of rectitude, you should be unwilling to do that which Almighty God wishes you to do!

N.Ji.If you have not read yesterday the counsels to be followed during the time of the Exercises, and touch may be found in § IV. of the Introduction (page 17), read them to-day.


Repetition of the Two preceding Meditations.

To The Reader.

/. There are two reasons why S. Ignatius inculcates so earnestly the necessity of repeating these Fundamental Meditations. Firstly, because by means of repetition, the truths which they contain become more deeply imprinted upon our understanding. Secondly, because the will, embracing them with repeated efforts, becomes more and more confirmed in its first resolution. In one word, the object of the repetition is to derive from the Meditations that fruit which we fail to gather fully when considering them for the first time.

II. During these repetitions, "in which we ruminate, as it were, what we had previously meditated" (a). two things must be carefully attended to: 1. We should dwell principally on these portions of the past Meditations " which brought us greater light or fervour " ; as also on those parts in which we experienced in a large degree consolation, or desolation, or any other movement of the soul. We should also strive to draw some pious feelings from those portions in which our soul languished through spiritual dryness, because it frequently happens that in meditating them anew we are filled with greater light and consolation (b).

2. We ought to occupy ourselves much more in exciting our affections than in the exercise of the reasoning powers, for in this the principal advantage to be derived from the repetition consists. This is the advice given to us by the Directory, which says.-— "Avoiding prolonged reflections, we ought in these repetitions merely to propose to ourselves, and touch lightly upon what we have previously meditated; dwelling thereon not so much with the intellect, as

(a) S. Ignatius, in lib. Exercit hebd. 1.

(b) Directory, ch. xv. n. 3.

with the will and affections; and this is the reason why the holy author introduces colloquies more frequently here than in the preceding exercises" (a). N.B.The asterisks (*), scattered here and there through the following Meditation, mark the places where one might make a somewhat longer pause than usual, if these passages should have in the preceding Meditations afforded him any light, or excited any feelings of consolation, dryness, sadness, fyc.

First Point.

Since we have been created by and for God, reason itself clearly points out that we are bound to serve God, and to serve Him in that manner which He may wish ; because no service can be agreeable to Him which is not in accordance with his Divine will.

O Lord God! Creator of all things, I confess that as a man, as Thy servant, and as a Christian, I am bound to serve Thee, my God, my Lord, and my Redeemer; and I confess, moreover, that this is the sole, the essential, the last, and the paramount business and end of man.*

But to be bound to do this in that particular manner which is pleasing to you, and to be obliged to hold myself indifferent to all the means through which you have appointed that I should attain my end—this is the difficulty; this is the critical trial. For "I will confess against myself my injustice to the

(a) Directory, ch. xv. n. 2.

Lord" (a); here the flesh with its self-love, and my entire human nature rises up in rebellious opposition. Here there is nothing more enlightened than the intellect, and yet nothing weaker than my will. I am well aware of the happiness this heavenly indifference brings with it; I feel within me the powerful inpulses of grace inciting me to adopt its spirit j* but, unhappy being that I am !" I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind" (b)' and persuading me to fly from that good which I desire.

I understand the very powerful motives which impel me towards this virtue. For, in the first place, equity demands it, since the very husbandman does not permit his dependents to serve him otherwise than he commands, and we ourselves set no value even on favours, if they be not conferred in a manner that is agreeable to us. 2. I perceive too clearly that my own interests require this: because, otherwise, all my good works and my labours would fail to bring me merit, for the very reason that they are not in conformity with the will of God. 3. I know, in fine, that even my happiness in this world demands this: because he alone enjoys happiness here below who desires always to execute the will of God.

Ah! I hear resounding in my ears those words of the damned : " What hath pride profited us? or what advantage hath the boasting of riches brought us" 1 (c) I hear them repeating those terrible truths : "What profit is it to have abounded in everything, and be

(a) Psalm xxxi. 5.

(b) Romans vii, 23. (c) Wisdom v. 8.

afterwards lost? What loss is it to suffer every temporal affliction, if one saves his soul? That truth is a sharp thorn which pierces my soul; * and yet (0 weakness on my part!) I shrink back affrighted from that heavenly indifference, towards which justice, my own interests, and my own happiness so strongly impel me. Why dost Thou delay, 0 Lord? Awaken my torpid soul; " Show might in thy arm ;" (a) and do Thou, who didst command the winds and the sea (b), bring this rebellious will of mine, also, into submission to Thy divine decrees.

Wherefore, "hear, O ye heavens," the firm resolution which I now solemnly take, " let the earth give ear to the words of my mouth" (c). Since Thou art "my Lord and my God" (d), I shall, henceforward, devote myself to Thy service, and I shall serve Thee in that manner which pleases Thee best; in whatever state of life Thou shalt determine, or, in my present state, in whatever degree of perfection Thou shalt appoint for me, being prepared to avoid or to embrace, to suffer or to perform whatsoever I shall, during the course of the present exercises, discover to be Thy will. Do Thou, 0 Lord, who art Omnipotent, stretch forth to me Thy helping hand, because, unaided, I am powerless to advance a single step.

After this, excite within your heart (but with greater fervour) those acts of virtue, and those pious affections which I have already proposed to you in the first meditation.

(a) Luke i. 51. (6) Luke viii. 25.

(c) Deut. xxxii. 1. {d) John xx. 28.

« AnteriorContinuar »